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New Strain of Parvovirus, a.k.a. "Show Dog Crud"

Reproduced with permission of Vetmed

Following is information on a disease that is often mistakenly diagnosed as Parvo, but must NOT be treated as such. I am *not* a vet, but have had far too much experience with this. The treatment was found by trial & error.

Non-specific diarrheal syndrome
Progressive diarrhea

It's a BACTERIAL imbalance in the digestive tract. This is NOT a new form of Parvo. Parvo tests will show a LOW positive & subsequent tests will continue to show low positives, will be inconclusive, or will give erratic results. This disease is so similar to Parvo, that some dogs have tested in the low positive for Parvo. But they do not have Parvo, and it has been recommended that three parvo tests are needed to exclude Parvo.

Mode of infection: widely varied, but mostly from contact with urine, feces, something brought in on shoes, etc. Symptoms usually start 12-48hrs after initial contact & spread to susceptible dogs rapidly (young or weaker dogs).

It's everywhere! It's on your shoes, in the places where dogs sniff, urine on posts or ground, or trees, or feces, etc. Pups have a difficult time surviving, but if caught quick enough (before anorexia), no one dies. Death occurs because of dehydration. Some dogs get better without treatment.

This disease seems to move from the West to the East through the dog shows. It is medically known as Campylobacteriosis, name of the organism causing this is Campylobacter Jejuni. This disease can be tested for specifically, so if you have an affected dog that appears to have Parvo, but in your mind know that, that could not be possible, have them tested for "Camby". It is important to note that this disease can be transferred between humans, dogs, cats and other livestock.

Dogs are alert, hungry, energetic, with normal feces. It starts with fecal mucus sheath & continues to get progressively softer until it is watery & contains blood. It then becomes explosive.

Vomiting may accompany & may or may not also contain blood. Feces have a sweet/flowery aroma along with a "slaughterhouse on a summer day" smell (similar to parvo diarrhea but with a floral hint). Feces are *usually* mustard colored. Dogs dehydrate at an astounding rate. Dogs are also at risk of intusseption (sp?).

Do NOT automatically assume Parvo when you see this. Parvo treatments have killed the majority of Crud dogs. If you suspect Parvo, try the Cephalexin 1st, if it doesn't work, THEN assume parvo. Do NOT use Amoxycillin. Keflex has worked in the past, but slowly & speed is the important thing here. Dogs should show improvement within hours of treatment.

What is happening is that there is a bacterial growth in the digestive tract which throws it off balance. The body is trying to counteract this by removing the extra (or offending) bacteria. It seems to do this by trying to remove ALL body fluids as quickly as possible. Death is caused by massive dehydration. From the 1st signs of symptoms, death can be as short as 12 hrs, or as long as 7 days.

The younger the dog, the worse it is. The key is to treat this as fast as possible before the dogs go anorexic AND to treat ALL dogs on the premises (non-afflicted dogs should get ONE capsule). Treatment is 250mg Cephalexin per 25lbs of body weight. This MUST be given orally NOT IV - it MUST go thru the digestive tract (I don't know WHY it works this way, but it does).

If the dog vomits the pill up, just give it again until it stays down. Give another dose approx 12hrs later. If the dog returns to normal DO NOT medicate again. It's important NOT to run a full 10 day course of this drug as it has (in the past) caused the bacterial balance to go the other way. If needed, give medication for 2 more days, or whenever symptoms re-occur.

Pups may get Ceph-drops. If your pups are anywhere near 20lbs, even around 15lbs, go ahead & give then the regular Ceph. But just not as many times as you would an adult. And YES, treat EVERY DOG whether they have symptoms or not, just give them less.

If the dogs are massively dehydrated, DO NOT use a force IV drip. Lactated Ringers Solution SUB-Q is suggested & forcing electrolytes orally. IV rehydration HAS thrown animals into deep shock. Slow rehydration. Slow slow slow. Just enough to keep them alive until the *bug* is nipped in the bud. You can also give Pedialyte (electrolytes). Once the drug has had time to take effect & the dogs are a bit more together, you can rehydrate IV, but NOT on a continuous drip.

After the diarrhea has stopped, you can cram the dog as full of fluids as you want, just not when it is at its most fragile point. You don't want to shock an already shocked system. Also, DO NOT flea-dip/worm/vaccinate at this time, PLEASE!!!!!

Anorexic dogs have to be tempted to eat again. Rare, bloody, slightly garlicky & slightly salty beef has worked the best in the past for getting the
appetites working. Start small. You may have to give anorexic dogs Nutri-Cal to get them going again. But after they are cured they *will* begin to eat again.

1) I got in a dog for boarding last Sunday. Could he have exposed mine to the "CRUD"? Even though he himself has no symptoms?

Yes. But it can come in on your feet, in the air, or in any number of ways. It's everywhere.

2) What type of disinfectant is recommended so the dogs do not continue to get reinfected?

Regular bleach dilution. Then rinse the bleach off. Wash dog blankets in the same bleach dilution. Make sure all feces are picked up where the dogs run.

As long as you catch it in time your dogs should be ok. It's the young ones that you have to be careful with. If the 5mo olds don't come around after a regular dosage of Ceph, give them another. The drug won't kill them.


The Campylobacter jejuni is a Gram-negative slender, curved and motile rod. It is a species of bacteria that resemble small rightly coiled spirals. Its organisms are known to cause abortion in sheep and fever and enteritis in man and may be associated with enteric diseases of calves, lambs and other animals. A genus of bacteria found in the reproductive organs, intestinal tract and oral cavity of animals and man. Some species are pathogenic. It is a microaerophilic organism, which means it has a requirement of reduced level of oxygen. It is relatively fragile and sensitive to environmental stresses (e.g. 21% oxygen, drying, heating, disinfectants and acidic conditions). It causes more disease than Shigella spp and Salmonella spp combined. (Taken from the US FDA "Bad Bug Book") It is also known as Campylobacter enteritis or gastroenteritis. It can also be diagnosed as Spirochete or Giardia diarrhea.

Testing: Diagnosis is by a direct fecal on a VERY fresh (still warm, so bacteria are still alive) sample, mixed with saline and examined microscopically. There is usually a decrease in normal bacterial numbers and motility. Blood testing will result in the low positive for Parvo.

Incubation Time: It's incubation period is reported to be anywhere from 2 to 10 days.

Symptoms: Like I mentioned earlier, this can mimic Parvo. The diarrhea does not always have the foul order. It usually progresses as follows. Begins with mucus covered solid stools, loose stools, progresses to diarrhea, profuse diarrhea, the squirts, depressed appetite with or without vomiting. The diarrhea may be watery or sticky and can contain blood.

These symptoms can be minor to severe - some animals hardly show any symptoms, while others can become fatally dehydrated. Also seen are temperature drops and shock followed by death, all within 12 to 24 hours.

Source of infection: Fecal matter, non-chlorinated water, such as streams, ponds or puddles. This disease can also be transmitted to these areas by our common fly, flitting from one host to another. The bacteria is also found in raw or under cooked meat. For all intents and purposes for the Dog Show Crud, it is transmitted in public X-Pens and public elimination areas. Some also say through urine, saliva via contact or through the air. This bacteria reproduces at a rapid rate.

Treatment: As soon as any of the symptoms are seen, see your veterinarian immediately for the proper tests because the disease progresses so rapidly.

Re-hydration may be required within a few hours of onset. This is the worse scenario. It could be that the dog will have a very mild case and be treated at home with anti-diarrheal medication and bland diet, but it is not worth it to take a chance. Most cases are not as drastic/catastrophic, clinically, as parvo.

Drugs for treatment mentioned are Tetracycline, Erythromycin and some have had success using Cephalexin.

(In humans you will also see fever, abdominal pain, nausea, headache and muscle pain. This illness usually occurs 2-5 days after ingestion of contaminated food or water and up to 10 days after. Illness generally last 7-10 days, but relapses are not uncommon. Most infections are self-limiting and are not treated with antibiotics. However treatment with erythromycin does reduce the length of time that infected individuals shed the bacteria in their feces.)

If you have any questions, please e-mail me privately at with the subject line CRUD. You may post this anywhere & everywhere.

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